October 26, 2018 | Vol. 11 : No. 10

The Source

Develop a sound marketing plan by believing in the future.

Dream. Believe. Future.

These words are not just for graduation speeches or only for youth. Dreaming, looking to the future, and believing in yourself or an idea can help lead you to success.

Dreaming leads to discovery.

Believe in your plan.

Look to the future.

Every year Angus producers who sit on the American Angus Association Board of Directors dream, believe and plan for the future of the Angus breed. Several years ago the dream centered on the Angus cow and ways to keep Angus bulls the commercial man’s trusted bull breed. This dream led to focus groups, surveys, planning and, finally, what is now known as the Long Range Strategic Plan (LRSP). Commercial cattlemen, feeders, allied industry and seedstock producers are now seeing pieces of the plan that have been rolled out.

The real work has started in commercial programs. AngusSource® was retooled in mid-June and Angus LinkSM was released the end of August. The new commercial mobile app will be released in the very near future.

The end of the fiscal year has arrived and so has the end of the summer video sale season. While it is time to reset, it is also a time to look back at the numbers.

Value in documentation
This year during the summer sale season since June, approximately 28,000 AngusSource calves sold on the major video auctions with an average calf weight of 614 pounds (lb.). These calves were enrolled in a variety of value-added programs that included age and source, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), Verified Natural/NeverEver 3 (NE3), documented health programs like AngusSource Calf Management and Global Access Partners (GAP).

The average premium on all of the reported AngusSource-enrolled calves selling was $8.06 per hundredweight (cwt.). Calves only enrolled in AngusSource age and source verification received $2.88 per cwt., while calves enrolled in age and source, NHTC and Verified Natural NE3 received $9.22 per cwt. more than calves not enrolled in any value-added programs.

Sex and weight of calves, as well as lot size, obviously play a role in the amount of extra dollars received. Table 1 summarizes the premiums AngusSource-enrolled cattle brought in this summer’s major video sales vs. the average selling price.

AngusSource updates
As I mentioned earlier, AngusSource received a makeover in June. The genetic component was taken out of AngusSource because of the new feeder-cattle program. Angus Link will now document the genetic component of your feeder calves moving forward. In addition, AngusSource now offers a radio frequency ID (RFID) tag. Angus Link will offer the visual tag. Producers can easily dual-enroll in both programs. Calves enrolled in AngusSource no longer have to be sired by a registered Angus bull to qualify for enrollment.

Marketing your calf crop begins before you start calving. Buyers last year looked for calves enrolled in value-added programs. Many producers were scrambling to enroll at the last minute. NHTC and NE3/Verified Natural require an on-site review. Remember, before we can say your calves qualify or are enrolled, you need to have passed your on-site review. The sale book deadlines for the video sales are several weeks in advance of the sale. Video companies check on the programs in which calves are enrolled and request a certificate to verify enrollment.

Receiving better prices at marketing time doesn’t just happen. It takes time and commitment. A marketing plan isn’t something you dream up overnight. It’s built on many factors, such as genetics, management and health.

If you believe your calf crop is one of the best, take some time and visit the feedlot to find out how your calves delivered. How many sick calves did they have? Were the calves bunk-trained? Did they start eating right away, or did they stand back and bawl for days?

Believe in your program and make it better each year by learning from the buyer. Remember you have to reach out to the buyer. He isn’t going to call you. The future is up to you and how much effort you want to put into your operation.